Railroad Festival celebrates Topeka’s train heritage

Attendees riding a mini-train. The mini-train offered rides throughout the event.

Lisa Herdman

Railroad Heritage, Inc. sponsored the ninth annual Topeka Railroad Festival and provided activities and food trucks near the Great Overland Station Museum to bring awareness to Topeka’s pioneer history and railroad heritage.

The festival took place in the area outside of the museum as well as inside, utilizing the museum’s exhibits and education center. It provided families a place to take their children to learn and experience the culture and history of the railroads passing through Kansas.

Interactive displays were available in the learning center, including Choo-Choo Junction, where children could create crafts and look at books, and Flo-Graphix, an interactive display that encourages moving shapes and letters around a glowing board.

Children and families could also participate in the many outdoor activities supported by local businesses, including pony rides, bows with rubber tips to practice on targets and laser tag.

Outside, the festival boasted many tents with vendors from around Topeka’s community. This included cell phone companies, local artists, banks and food trucks.

Many food trucks and performers were regulars at other Topeka festivals, including Mr. Smiley’s Hot Box, a vendor that participated in the Topeka Food Truck Festival.

Mario Campo, an artist that has performed at the First Friday Artwalk in North Topeka, set up a stand in front of the museum to perform and sell handmade items to the public.

Campo said he has been trying to participate in many Topeka events. He has performed on the pan flute to participants in festivals, and sells many kinds of musical instruments, dreamcatchers and jewelry.

James McWilliams, owner of Mr. Nice Guy’s Hot Box food truck, has been present at many prior festivals and makes his way around Topeka. He boasts being a family friendly and delicious food truck.

“Come out, bring the kids and have a great time,” McWilliams said.

For more information call Topeka Overland Station at 785-232-5533